Pep Guardiola has used team meetings to try and create a siege mentality from Manchester City in the Champions League after bad luck with refereeing calls in the past
- Man City have been on the wrong end of some tight calls in Europe recently
- VAR played a huge role as Spurs beat them in the Champions League last year
- Marginal decisions cost them against Monaco and Liverpool in recent seasons
- But Pep Guardiola wants the team to trust in the game plan against Real Madrid
Pep Guardiola has reminded his Manchester City stars of refereeing misfortune in past years to create a siege mentality in the Champions League.
City found themselves on the wrong side of tight calls in each of Guardiola’s three seasons in charge as they were dumped out by Monaco, Liverpool, then Tottenham.
During team meetings this season, Guardiola has told his players to use the pain of those decisions as fuel.
Pep Guardiola wants Manchester City to focus on their game plan as they take on Real Madrid
City went out on away goals against Monaco in 2017, with Sergio Aguero cautioned for diving inside the box when he was tripped by the goalkeeper in the 5-3 first-leg victory at the Etihad.
Guardiola was sent to the stands a year later after remonstrating with the referee during a quarter-final with Liverpool and blamed decisions against them in both legs for turning the tie.
City lost 5-1 on aggregate. Leroy Sane had a goal wrongly chalked off for offside and Guardiola claimed a Mo Salah strike was wrongly awarded in the first leg at Anfield.
Spurs knocked the Premier League champions out on away goals at the quarter-final stage last year after VAR failed to broadcast the clip showing Fernando Llorente’s handball as he bundled home the decisive goal.
He hopes for better luck at the Bernabeu after being victim to some tight calls in recent years
City were knocked out of the Champions League by Tottenham last year after Fernando Llorente’s goal was awarded despite replays suggesting the ball had touched his arm
Guardiola has complained that ‘nobody has given us anything,’ over the three years and said: ‘You need luck. Decisions at certain points are important but we cannot control that.
‘We have to have incredible concentration in our plan and be lucky in the things we can’t control.
‘Hopefully it can be fair for both sides — the VAR, the referees.’
Raheem Sterling is fit enough to start against the 13-time European Cup winners tonight.